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Defense Secretary Austin: Agency officials to discuss 'extremism' with troops, civilian employees

The directive was agency-wide, going as high up as "senior Pentagon leadership." 

Published: February 6, 2021 1:12pm

Updated: February 7, 2021 10:53am

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered agency leaders and "senior Pentagon leadership" to host discussions with troops and civilian employees on the topic of “extremism in the ranks,” a move that comes after some service members were found to have participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

In the memorandum, Austin directed "commanding officers and supervisors at all levels to select a date within the next 60 days to conduct a one-day 'stand-down' on [the issue of extremism] with their personnel."

Austin in the directive did not clarify what was meant by “extremism,” though he did state the department "will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies."

In a press release, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the order will allow "each command and each unit [to] take the time out to have these needed discussions with the men and women of the force."

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